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James E. Allman

Thank you for this post. It is a helpful path around the impasse created by modern ethical thinking, applying the standards of the patriarchal period instead.

Mike Gantt

Thanks for the post.

By the way, is Hebrews 11:19 not a helpful commentary on Genesis 22?

JohnFH

Hi Mike,

Yes, Heb 11:19 is a witness to the view that faith in God's power and love is primary in Gen 22, the reason why Abraham was able to do what he did.

On the other hand, whereas it was obvious at the time that Abraham must have believed in a God who resurrects the dead, a belief that was widespread among the Jews of the late Second Temple period and fundamental to Christianity, given what we know about the history of the faith of Israel now, we would not imagine Abraham's faith to have taken that specific form.

G. Kyle Essary

Credit ergo sum...it's much more powerful than dubito ergo cogito ergo sum methinks. Give me the Knight of Faith any day over the Knight of Resignation who cannot believe anything for fear. He is the true slave.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

I could not image being in the situation that Abraham was and remained calm. He was faced with such a difficult situation to sacrifice his own son. It had to have made it more difficult knowing that this was the only son that Abraham was able to have with Sarah. During the process Abraham seems to be calm as he is carrying out the task, but I want to know what it going on inside his head and what are his thoughts. In the end I think that God does a great thing by allowing Abraham's son Isaac to live.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

As Abraham is told by God to murder his son, does he begin to have doubt about whether God will keep his promise? In Genesis 22 God makes a covenant with Abram that he will have offspring and they will be very wealthy. I can’t help but think that he feels that God may be lying to him. At that point how could Abraham really believe that his offspring would live on and become very powerful? However, through it all he is still willing to do as God tells him.

True Grit 2

I agree with Truman 1. Being asked to kill your own son to prove true faith is very extreme. Trust is a very powerful bond that takes a while to procure. Religion and faith will always test a person’s trust.

After reading Genesis 22 I wonder that if God can ask Abraham to kill his own son, does that make it ok to kill in the name of God even though the sixth commandment say you shall not kill?

Praying With Lior 2

This significant biblical story is one that I always ponder. Is this a story of the wrath of God and why we should be fearful of him? I hate to see God as a malicious being, however when He tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son simply to test his faith, I cannot help but wonder why God would make this a test of faith. But on the other hand, it makes sense that God would choose this as a test for Abraham. Isaac was so incredibly important to Abraham, and a true test of faith is putting something that means the world to somebody in danger.
I also had the same thought that True Grit 2 had after rereading Genesis 22. If somebody claimed to have heard God tell them to kill a certain person, would the church see this as a sin?

JohnFH

There are occasions in which the commandment "Do not kill" is set aside in the name of what is thought to be a greater value.

For example, a police force or an army is empowered to kill someone who poses a clear and present lethal threat to the lives of others.

Such an act is not usually considered to be murder, even though it is a planned for, pre-emptive strike.

By analogy, it is unlikely that someone who offered up a child as a sacrifice to their God thought of it as murder. Still, the test of Abraham is poignant precisely because God asks Abraham to forfeit the very thing he had just given him against all odds. It makes no sense.

To do something that makes no sense on the word of someone you believe knows better than you and has your back is the essence of trust. Tests of trust are sometimes used in organizations that rely on the bond of trust being strong to the point of being blind.

Perhaps this passage in Genesis is to be understood along those lines. The psychology of it is difficult to fathom. If someone put you through a test like this, would you still love him? How was Isaac to relate to his father from this point on?

JohnFH

It is worth pondering another story, this one told by Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who wrestled hard with believing in God and chose finally to believe in him while reserving the right to criticize:

One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us, machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains— and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel.
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him.
This time the Lagerkapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.
The three victims mounted together onto the chairs.
The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses.
“Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.
But the child was silent.
“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked.
At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over.
Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.
“Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping.
“Cover your heads!”
Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows…”

[Excerpt from Night by Elie Wiesel

Nell 4

I would also agree with Truman 1 and True Grit 2 responses. For God to ask Abraham to take upon himself to commit such a large task that most would not even consider in doing shows a great deal about Abraham. I also think that Genesis 22 is much more than just Abraham killing is only son Isaac, because in the end God ends up letting Isaac live. I believe that Genesis 22 is about having faith. That's what Abraham demonstrated in God. He may not knew the answer in why God asked him to commit such an act, but he had great faith and trust in God. I think about my own experiences that I have had through out my life and I never know the answers right away.

The Truman Show 4

Being brought up in a household living a faith driven life, I can openly and honestly say I am a firm believer in Christ. When talking in class about this book Genesis 22, it got me thinking about Sunday school when I was younger. It just seems like it was such a different story, I never really noticed the power in this message until now. It’s just outstanding to think of the willingness of giving up your child as a sacrifice. That has got to be the hardest challenge and test to ask of someone. Now in present time, it would be unheard of and illegal to sacrifice your son, regardless of the reason. So it makes me wonder, is there something that would be relative to killing your son for God nowadays? Also, if there is something that important to us, how many of us would have the same powerful faith to do the same thing as Abraham.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

I don’t think that many of the people today would have the strength to take their son or daughter’s life in the name of God. I think that it goes back to what was talked about in class about how some people are in an ethical state of thinking. They are not able to get to the point where their faith is stronger. In the ethical way of thinking people only do what is right and things that will better themselves and other people. Therefore at times individuals whose faith is greater then their ethical thinking are able to make sacrifices like Abraham was about to even when it seems unethical. When Abraham reached this religious state of thinking it shows that he fears God and is willing to do whatever he asks.

Name Change UK

I love this blog. The faithfulness of father and son together over against a world that knows nothing of Torah, even if it leads to martyrdom, becomes a model for the entire community. Also, if there is something that important to us, how many of us would have the same powerful faith to do the same thing as Abraham.

Nell 5

This story really surprised me. First of all, Abraham doesn’t tend to do the right thing later in the Bible, so it’s surprising to see that for once he did. This story is a true test of faith. It made me think if I had any tests of my faith. I’m sure there have been many encounters of this test, but not nearly to the extreme of Abraham sacrificing his son. Or maybe I have had a test of my faith that large and didn’t realize it. That brings on the question, did I pass it? I always believe that you don’t realize how bad or good something is that happens in your life until it is long over. Everything happens for a reason and it’s up to the person to realize it.

The Truman Show 5

To begin, the story about Abraham is one of the truest tests of faith in the Bible. I tried to imagine how much faith it took to be willing to sacrifice your only son to glorify God. It got me thinking to a point where I wondered if God challenged me like that how would I respond. Even if those tests weren't as radical as giving up an only son. I believe people need to read between the line when it comes to challenges God presents. Usually he doesn't really even want you to do the things he says he does. He really only wants to test your faith, and if you pass his test he will reward you with the best gift in the universe, that being a seat in his kingdom. People such as Abraham just need to realize that they are being tested and do their best to pass said test.

True Grit 4

I do not think that God was going to make Abraham sacrifice Isaac. Yes God told him to do it, but I feel this was more of a test. I think God was testing Abraham’s faith. I think he was always trying to teach Abraham a lesson. I believe that lesson is that you should always have faith in God above all.

Abraham really shows that he has faith in God. God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the sands in one chapter in Genesis. This huge number of descendants would come through a son that at the time Abraham (then called Abram) didn’t even have yet and he thought he was far too old to have one; or so he thought at first.

Abraham continually shows that he trusts in God and you can really see it in this chapter. He is about to do what God is telling him to do without question because he knows that God will provide.

The Mission 4

Gen 22 is a great story about how Abraham would completely obey god and his will. What makes this story hi home compared to other parts of the bible is that is his son that he is to kill. Now let’s take the story of Moses in how he led his people from the pharaoh. People would say that it was amazing that after he was cast away from the city to come back and free his people. However his people were being treated poorly which would make sense why he should free them. Now go back to Abraham, he and his wife were thought to be unable to have kids and very late in life they were blessed to have a child. And not only a child but a boy who would be able to carry on the family name. Abraham’s belief in god would be strong after this miracle that he gave Abraham a son, but god now asks him to sacrifice his son to him. This is why I believe this story really tugs at the heat strings of many.

JohnFH

It's not that difficult to argue that God according to this text never intended to allow Abraham to sacrifice Issac. But it is clear that at a certain point Abraham was ready to do just that.

How would you respond to someone who said that it would have been an example of truer faith if Abraham had just said "no"? Put another way, would Abraham have passed the test if he simply had said "no"?

Nell 1

Anyone who is asked to kill their own child would be scared and timid to do so. However, Abraham places full trust in God that he must do what he is asking. Abraham, however, may have been terrified that God would not keep His promise to have a lot of offspring and to be wealthy. Extraordinary faith is shown in Genesis 22. Although this story shows the tremendous faith that Abraham had in God, it almost seems like a cruel way to test someone’s faith. Sacrificing a child seems to be extreme. I understand that Isaac was important so Abraham so God was testing to see if Abraham could sacrifice something that meant a lot to him, but it almost seems as though God is saying, “sure killing my people is ok” because Abraham did not know that God would spare his son. He had to trust solely in God with what he was doing. Even though Abraham did not know God’s plan for this sacrifice, he went through with it anyways, and was rewarded in the end for expressing so much faith and trust in God. However, if Abraham were to have said no, it makes me wonder if God would have kept his promise to make his family prosper. I feel the lesson to be learned is that even though life gets hard and comes in the way of things, God will be with you and foresee a greater outcome for you if one just has faith.

Lior A

This is one of the most thought provoking stories in the Bible. Most of us have heard this story many times and, if any of you are like me, haven’t really put much thought into the existence of Abraham as a true believer until now. It’s really amazing how much power a true believer possesses as mentioned in the last paragraph of this entry. To think that Abraham was willing to kill his only son as a sacrifice seems unfathomable in today’s society, however, it reflects how much people are willing to give things up for a higher purpose or because of their true faith.
In response to True Grit 2’s comment on the 6th Commandment, I would have to say that the Commandments are God’s rules. While they may be interpreted differently by those that read and apply or choose not to apply them to their lives, the 6th Commandment seems to constantly be debated when the issue of war or killing for self-defense come into play. Abraham’s situation is different. God commanded him to kill his only son, in my opinion, because it was a test of Abraham’s faith. God loves all of his people and would not want Abraham to kill Isaac for nothing, as that would be murder. The whole issue can be debated and is rather confusing, but it’s important to realize that this situation does not mean that the 6th Commandment is to be disreguarded.

Corey Schmitz

This always brings forth an interesting argument. Is it okay to do something ethically wrong because you believe it is what God wills? There have been many instances throughout history that God has been used as an reason for doing something despite it being contradictory to their beliefs. The crusades, inquisitions, and even modern Islamic terrorists did everything because they believe that God wills it.

JohnFH

Other examples: John Brown used to be celebrated because of his acts on behalf of slaves in the South. But his acts were acts of terror. This is according to the maxim, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Figures admired by many such as Lincoln and Ghandi were also "true believers" even though and precisely because they played leading roles in civil wars which caused the death of countless individuals (Ghandi made use of nonviolence but recognized that violence was necessary in some circumstances).

Finally, many of the most prominent atheists of the last century - Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot - were strident atheists whose ideology gave them permission to kill millions of people.

In short, it seems fair to argue that true believers are the movers and shakers of history for bad as well as good. Furthermore, in just a short period, atheists seem to have proven more efficient at doing evil than theists. That's saying something.

As for doing good, it might be claimed that theists remain more efficient at that, but it depends on your definition of good. If you are an Ayn Rand atheist or a follower of Nietzsche, you might argue that most of what passes for good is product of a slave mentality and not good at all.

Nell 2

This biblical passage distinguishes the true faith of a believer. Abraham was one of the many Chosen to have his virtues challenged. He really endured the task he was given by the Lord. His passion to stand by the Lord and carry out what he was told proves that he strongly believes in God. This parable proves that the Lord will make sure that everything is okay in the end as long as you believe within him.

I personally think that God sends tasks alike Abraham’s to our lives periodically. I am not intentionally saying that he asks us to sacrifice our children, however, he tests our faith to see if we really believe. God tested Peter’s faith by questioning his involvement with Christ through non-believers. In this sense Peter showed his disbelief in the Lord and his works:

The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you? He said, “I am not.” (John 18:17)

As I was looking through the bible, I landed among numerous parables. I found a great liking in a passage written by Timothy. This book really conquers the midst of believing in the Lord, especially the verses below.

“If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
If we endure him, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful-
for he cannot deny himself.”
(Second Timothy 2:12)

The Mission 2

Lucretius said "To such heights of evil are men driven by religion."
While, obviously, the terms good and evil are subjective, I think that one cannot possibly make the assertion that atheists were more proficient at evil than theists throughout history. Hitler (while it is debated whether or not he was a Christian or Atheist) was quoted saying "My feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter" and "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
It is important to note that the time period in which the Church was at its height of power is known as the Dark Ages. Progress was stalled, or in fact, turned backward.
I would also disagree that Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot's atheistic ideology gave them permission to kill millions of people. Their Godlessness did not allow them to perform atrocities, their own choices did. After all, theists that perform atrocities simply do it in the name of God.
So, in those cases, I disagree that a relationship with a god makes any difference to the outcome. It is still a matter of the choices made by a person in power.

Truman Show 2

I think that it is very hard to grasp this topic because nobody knows what was going through their heads besides them and God. I can’t imagine how I would feel or what I would be thinking if my father was tying me up to sacrifice me. Would it be thoughts of anger, betrayal, or understanding? It is something that I cannot even fathom. Not to mention the emotions that Abraham was feeling: his only son that he waited so long for and loved more that life itself. How could you say no or doubt the one you fear and who gave you everything? How could you kill the one you love and are supposed to protect? Genesis 22 is a very difficult part of the bible to read as well as imagine. You can grasp what is going on but you cannot possibly know the feelings they felt. I think Abraham having comfort and trust in the covenant he and God made is what gave him the strength to obey God. After reading Eric Hoffer’s “True Believer,” I have to admit it was a pleasing read and one in which I agree with.

Nell 3

Truman Show 2,

I agree 100% with you. Genesis 22 is a part of the Bible that is both impossibly difficult to imagine, yet one that is profound and important. It shows a gruesome and tragic side to the Bible, but it also displays the deep love and belief that was instilled in Abraham by God. At the same time the feelings and emotions felt by Abraham and his son cannot begin to be understood by anyone.

In our own lives today God is testing our belief in him and his word. It is not to the extreme that Abraham was tested, but we are presented with temptations and other obstacles we must overcome. For me the story of Abraham is one that impacts me most deeply. It shows me what Abraham was willing to do to show his love and belief in God. It makes me realize what God asks of me in my daily life is nothing I can’t do.

Dead Man Walking 3

I also agree with True Grit 2 and Truman Show 1. This passage is hard to understand on so many levels. If I was put in that situation I know that I would not be able to just casually answer back to my son the way Abraham does after his son asks. “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” I don’t know if I could have been able to look my soon in the eye, or even try to talk to him at this point. Abraham is strong enough to say, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” It’s great that the bible shows you so many bad characters along with good. I’m just surprised that there is nothing about the son’s relationship with the father after he almost kills him. Wouldn’t it be awkward if your father tied you down, and was about to kill you. What was the son thinking right before the Lord stepped in and said do not touch him. How does Jacob not say hold on or wait just a minute!

I also want to talk about a question John pulls up about what would happen if Abraham said no to the lord. This question really would answer if our god was a cruel god. Would the Lord have brought wraith on Abraham? Everyone always pictures god as a lord who forgives but what would he have really done. I belief that he would have been proud of Abraham to stand up to god since his love was so strong for his son. God even sounds surprised that Abraham went through with it. He sounds surprised that Abraham is scared of the lord when he comes down saying “Abraham, Abraham!” “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Ben Smith

Hi John,

On this topic, what do you make of Exodus 22 where God apparently suggests child sacrifice? A discussion on Thom Stark's thoughts are below:

http://undeception.com/the-human-faces-of-god-baals-blazing-babies/

What do you reckon?

JohnFH

Hi Ben,

Since forever so far as I know the content of Ex 22:29-30 has been understood in light of the preceding Ex 13:1-2, 11-16. That is, consecration of the first-born was actualized by redemption.

It is natural enough to interpret 22:29-20 in light of 13:1-2, 11-16. The canonical shape of the book of Exodus and of the entire Torah supports that. Including this very passage, Genesis 22.

It's possible that Stark is right thus far, that in a pre-canonical phase of Israelite religion, child sacrifice had a place. Would that have made pre-biblical religion a close cousin to what we know to have been the case in Carthage? Possibly, but it seems to me that Stark is out on a limb here (per the usual IMHO).

Ben Smith

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. The review, at least, failed to mention that earlier passage in chapter 13, while making much of chapter 34's later 'amendments' to the apparently earlier child sacrifice tradition! It all depends on what way you spin it, doesn't it?

Your thoughts above are great - God seems to walk on the edge of the surrounding ANE traditions, redeeming them in new ways.

Pulp Fiction 2

I feel that Genesis 22 can actually teach us a historical lesson about how children were held in society nearly 5,000 years ago. A child, it seems was considered the property of his/her parents. When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice this son Isaac, there was no second thought about it on Abraham’s behalf, it would not even matter what Isaac would think about the situation. Isaac was Abraham’s son and property and therefore would do as Abraham wished.

Another interesting observation, whether meaningful or not is that fact that upon the arrival to the mount in Moriah, Abraham had Isaac carry up to the top of the mount the sticks that he would be sacrificed on, almost foreshadowing and paralleling the future story of how Jesus was made to carry the cross he would be sacrificed on up to Mount Calvary.

Breaker Morant 5

Genesis 22 is one of those stories that really brings out an emotional response in the reader. I cannot even begin to imagine what I would feel if God told me to kill one of my family members. Our morals and the society that we live in today would make it hard for anyone to go through with this plan. This story is a good one to help the reader realize how deep our devotion for the Lord can go. It is this strong faith that is missing among some people in our country today. The Lord comes before all else and He will watch over us.

Praying With Lior 1

The first thought that popped into my mind when I heard about this story is that God just uses some humans as test subjects for other humans to prove their faith. That thought instantly made me think that God is really messed up or something. Then, I remember that God is a divine and holy being who has a reason for everything. We may not understand his thinking or judgement, but if we have faith in everything that he decides or asks us to do, then our lives will work for the best.

breaker morant 2

Our faith is tested at one point or another. We may not realize it at the time, but God has reason for everything that happens. We may end thinking he is cruel for taking a loved one, not passing a class, or not getting the job you applied for but in the end, everything he did, he did for a reason. God pushes us to be the greatest Christians we can be. To be role models for the younger, or newer Christians we must first, show our true faith and trust in God. Accept all challenges he throws your way, and defeat them as best you can.

Benjamin Smith

Hi John,

Again, sorry to return to an old post, but I've returned to the issue I commented on a few months ago and have had a few more thoughts on it. Hopefully they'll be more interesting than my usual questions.

Having had some more niggling doubts about the texts, and having looked at the texts more closely, I think there's a few things that support the idea that firstborn sacrifice wasn't the order of the day for the early Israelites: the indication in 20:24 that the altar is for 'the sheep and oxen', perhaps implying a different procedure for the giving of the firstborn sons; the two different Exodus passages, as well as those in Leviticus and Numbers, commanding the redemption process in different contexts, implying a widespread tradition; the faulty assumption that because something was composed later it can't be based on earlier ideas; the linkage of the redemption to the Exodus tradition, something that could reach back far. I'm no scholar, but these things seem to support belief in a non-child sacrificing society.

However, as you said before, the alternative, developmental way of reading it is possible, and, if true, would present serious problems for inerrancy. I could (and have) obsess(ed) over this. But then I think of how Christ has shown himself to be trustworthy throughout my life, and throughout scripture, and that tips the balance in trusting Yahweh in this instance, too. I suppose certain scholars would say that's letting faith interpret the text, but isn't the other interpretation a faith statement too?

I don't know if that's how you resolve these issues, John, but that's how I see it.

JohnFH

Hi Benjamin,

I think your thoughts are sound. There is no reason to believe that child sacrifice was widespread in ancient Israel.

I don't think it's necessary to extend the doctrine of inerrancy to everything people understood YHWH to have taught them in pre-canonical phases of the religion of Israel.

Furthermore, inerrancy is not a safeguard against over-zealousness. One might well speculate that some Israelites took Exod 34:20 badly, or over-zealously, and that Ezekiel (20:25-26) understood people's faulty interpretation as divine punishment:

http://jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/child-sacrifice-part-2/

Benjamin Smith

Glad to hear I'm on the right track. I agree with you about pre-canon beliefs insofar as something like monolatry: it seems like Yahweh was still the only God to be worshipped. I think child sacrifice goes one step further, though, i.e. why would God let a horrible practice last for some time among his people before straightening them out? Unless Ezekiel 20:25-26 can sort that one out too!

Shawshank 2

A sacrifice of your only son would if not is the most difficult thing to imagine doing. But as I read this I found a connection to the New Testament in a strong way. Now correct me in anyway if I am wrong or add to this but God sacrificed is only son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior because He so loved the world. This is stated in John 3:16. I feel God’s test to Abraham was the same in the aspect that Abraham trusted and loved the Lord so much he was willing to do as he was commanded and sacrifice his only son. The correlation here to me was uncanny. I feel this is a true testament to how much God really loves us. Let me know if anyone else sees this correlation as well.

Dead Man Walking 5

To Shawkshank 2 sacrificing a son would be the hardest thing to do ever. The connection between Jesus Christ and God and Abraham and his son is much the same. It is incredible how much trust Abraham had in his lord and was able to do as he was commanded and how much God does really love us.

Shawshank Redemption 1

In Gen. 22, I see God testing Abraham to show his heart and display what he values the most. Abraham was willing and ready to sacrifice his son for God’s sake. However I do find it interesting that when his son asked him about the offering, he responded by telling him that God would provide an offering. Here are a few things that I wonder/want to make note about:

-Did Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice, also knew the character of the God he served, and knew he would provide a different offering? Or was he just saying this to his son, so he did not terrify him?
-I believe it also important to note that there is no mention of his son struggling when he was bound and placed on the alter. At that moment there had to have been no doubt in that boys’ mind as to what was about to happen, however he did not waiver or cry out either.

-It is not talked about much, but after this situation, the Bible shows a break in conversations between God and Abraham. This can be easily read into and maybe even misunderstood, but I do find it interesting.

Shawshank Redemption 1

Dead Man Walking 5,
I must agree with what you wrote and state that it was well said. It is amazing to look at and try to understand the depth of love that God has towards us, that He did lay down His son so that we may have everlasting life.

Dead man walking 4

In these times why is it that sacrificing a child is so important? “Life would be more brutal than it is if some did not lay their lives down for others”. Today, we give up many things for our offspring and I personally would give my life to let my son live, not the other way around. I don’t understand God’s method for testing faith. To make a man decide something out of fear is very questionable to me. I would have a very difficult time doing anything for someone that makes me live on pins and needles, it is no way to live day to day.

Also, I found it to be rude for God to send an angel to stop Abram from killing is son, for now having the acceptance of the lord. He put his man to the ultimate test of faith and God himself won’t even speak to him, why? When a man believes that much shouldn’t he be rewarded with at least a message from God himself.

The Mission 5

I will be honest,this was very disturbing to read for the first time. I can not imagine what it would be like to be asked to sacrifice a child. I can not imagine the turmoil that Abraham felt. I also question how his son felt afterwards, he clearly had to know what was going on. Was he able to understand why this was being done and forgive his father?

Breaker Morant 2

I first want to look at something that you stated in the essay. You were talking about how Agamemnon offered up his daughter Iphigenia in the name of faith, similarly to Abraham, but what set Abraham apart was his faith. While I understand that I idea, I do not agree with this. Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter because the oracle said that the Gods wanted an offering for safe passage to Troy. He was just as faithful as Abraham. I believe what sets these stories apart is the God(s) themselves, because where as Agamemnon went through with it without any intervention, Abraham was interrupted because God recognized the sacrifice of what he was doing.

That being said, there is something to be said to his dedication to a entity he has never seen to be willing to sacrifice the one thing that he loved most and desired most, a son. What surprises me most about the passage is how he didn't question God at all, just followed his word. I do agree with Dead Man Walking 4, that it is interesting to make a man fear him rather then revere him.

TheMission4

The story about Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son has always been one of my favorite stories from the Bible. The first reason I enjoy it is because it shows how much faith one man is capable of having in God. If God asks you to sacrifice your only son that you love dearly, you have to be a pretty devote Christian. The next reason why I enjoy it is because God does not make him go through with killing his son. Abraham is tested with having to kill his son but God does not make him go through with it because he knows how much he loves his son. To me, this is just God testing Abraham to see if he is more loyal to his son or to God.

Chariots of fire 1

I love this account of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac. It shows his faithfulness and obedience to God, and it shows Isaac’s faithfulness and trust towards his father. Isaac obviously trusted Abraham enough to let him bind him up and place him on the altar. He must have known that this was what God wanted. It also shows God’s mercy (because he spares Isaac and provides a ram), and foreshadows the coming of Christ, who is the ultimate sacrifice. Because He died, we don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore, and, as long as we accept Him and his gift, we don’t have to die eternally.

JohnFH

Hi Chariots of Fire 1,

I follow what you are saying. On the other hand, you leave out of consideration the completion of the development of this theme, not only in Christianity but in Judaism.

In both faiths, it is understood that there are times in which one is to offer one's life as a sacrifice for others, or for the sole reason of remaining true to one's beliefs.

It is permitted and even encouraged in both religions to choose death if the alternative is that of renouncing one's faith, or being forced to commit murder or adultery.

In place of animal sacrifice, it is understood, not only that God is forgiving and compassionate - for Christians this is manifest on the cross - but we are to make of ourselves "living sacrifices." In the New Testament, Paul in Romans 12:1 is clear on this.

Jewish interpretation of Gen 22 is just as insistent that faithfulness translates into a life of sacrifice.

True Grit 4

We are taught that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, and I believe that this passage from Genesis 22 definitely shows this. Abram was such a man of faith that he was willing to give up his son for God's plans. I also think that God understands our sacrifice, because as we learn in John 3:16, where it says "God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son..." he was willing to make a sacrifice for us, so in turn, he would like us to give one.

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